Tech firms to watch: Tehama's 'once-in-a-lifetime opportunity'

Paul Vallee
Editor's Note

With a new year underway, OBJ is taking a closer look at several tech firms that have what it takes to scale up to a new level over the next 12 months as the economy continues to grapple with the coronavirus and begins to take tentative steps toward the post-pandemic reality.

When Westboro-based software startup Tehama spun off from IT consulting firm Pythian in 2019, founder and CEO Paul Vall​ée said he pictured a day when working remotely would be as commonplace as hopping in a car and driving to an office. 

He probably didn’t imagine that day was just around the corner.

Indeed, no one foresaw that a global pandemic would dramatically alter the way workers across the world went about their daily lives in 2020. 

Tehama was in the right place at the right time to respond to the radical shift to a remote-first mentality. Over the past 12 months, its cloud-based platform that lets off-site employees securely access company data on their laptops and other devices has rapidly emerged as a must-have commodity for a growing number of clients.  

Vall​ée, a respected Ottawa tech leader who originally helped launch Pythian nearly a quarter-century ago, sees huge upside in the work-from-home trend. He believes it will open up vast pools of talent for companies that are no longer limited to searching for new hires in their own backyards and will allow employees themselves to have more control over where, when and how they work.

But the move away from an “office-centric” environment is also fraught with potential pitfalls, he adds. That’s where Tehama’s technology comes in. 

“We want to feel confident that our data is safe, that our privacy is protected,” says Vall​ée. “The risks of a work-from-home workforce are very large.”

After a big 2020 that saw the young firm triple its revenues, grow from 48 to 71 employees and land US$10 million in venture capital financing, Vall​ée is expecting more of the same this year.

“Any one of the customers that we’re in front of now could single-handedly double our revenue,” he says. 

“Without hyperbole, I believe that the size of the opportunity in front of us right now is 100 times bigger than it was (last) January. We’re going for it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a juggernaut here in Ottawa.”